Nenotoh Switch Controller review: Impressive controller at an excellent price
Quality gaming controllers can be expensive, especially when you pair them with a console or subscription cost. The Nenotoh Switch Controller offers a smooth gaming experience that won't break the bank.
Nenotoh Switch Controller review: Controller and Apple TV
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, gaming has increased in popularity. Yet, regardless of the platform, a controller may be needed to operate the game.
Apple Arcade, which was introduced in 2019, opened the door for a more intense gaming experience on Apple devices. This included offering console-like games to be played on your iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV -- with or without a controller.
Furthermore, Apple keeps pushing the idea of gaming on their devices.
In macOS Sonoma, they introduced Game Mode. This automatically gives games top priority on your Mac's CPU and GPU while lowering background task usage and decreasing latency with wireless accessories.
While Apple Arcade doesn't require a top-of-the-line controller to have a great gaming session, it's still nice to have one that can keep up with your game. With the Nenotoh Switch Controller, you can have a great gaming experience while not making your wallet cry to get there.
Nenotoh Switch Controller review -- A familiar design
The Nenotoh Switch Controller is designed like other basic gaming controllers you would find. Yet, unlike expensive controllers with sleeker exteriors, this one offers a mostly black design with minor color elements incorporated throughout.
Measuring 6.18 x 4.33 x 2.24 inches and weighing .44 pounds, the Switch Controller is light to hold and portable to travel with when wanting to game on the go.
On the front are standard controls found on most controllers, including a D-Pad, ABXY buttons, left and right thumbsticks, and LED lights located at the bottom center to indicate connection modes.
Nenotoh Switch Controller review: ABXY buttons and controls
In the upper center are five buttons, each enabling different actions. There's an "H" button to go home and power the controller, a plus and minus button, an auto button identified with a "T", and an "O" button for taking a screenshot.
If the Switch Controller becomes unresponsive or isn't pairing, there's a tiny hole by the upper right screen on the back to insert a pin into to restart it.
Located on top of the controller are familiar left and right buttons, also joined by ZR and ZL buttons.
Nenotoh Switch Controller review: Rear of controller
A USB-C port is also on top to charge the controller and play with a wired connection. You can use an existing cord or the included USB-C to USB-A cable in the box.
Inside the Switch Controller is a motor that'll make the controller vibrate to simulate motion from within the game. However, for the games we were playing, the controller didn't vibrate. It only did it when we identified it within the Game Controller settings.
Nenotoh Switch Controller review: LED light indicators
Also housed inside the Switch Controller is a 550mAh polymer lithium battery. This will give you roughly ten hours of playback time but will take about 3.5 hours to fully recharge.
The bottom row of LED lights indicate the status of the battery.
- Powered off, charging, and light is flashing = Charging but not fully charged
- Powered off, charging, light is off = Fully charged
- Powered on, charging, and light is flashing = Charging but not fully charged
- Powered on, charging, light is on = Fully charged
If you are using the Switch Controller and the LED light starts rapidly blinking, the controller must be charged soon. Yet, to know the percentage of the battery, you can see it within the Game Controller settings in macOS.
Nenotoh Switch Controller review: Game Controller settings on Mac
If you don't use the Switch Controller for five minutes, it'll automatically go into sleep mode.
Nenotoh Switch Controller review -- A responsive gaming experience
Playing with the Switch Controller was no different than playing with any other controller, though it may even be better than some. With strong connectivity and low latency, gaming was surprisingly smooth and responsive.
Pressing down the "H" button enabled pairing and connectivity mode. The controller is in Connectivity Mode when the LED lights blink slowly across themselves. Additionally, holding down the "H" button longer will have the lights flash and move faster to signify the controller is in Pairing Mode.
Once connected, you can play any game that supports controller usage. The Switch Controller connects via Bluetooth 5.0, so it can connect to almost any gaming device.
Playing various Apple Arcade games with the controller resulted in a smooth gaming experience with no lag in connectivity. The controller can be about ten meters away from your gaming station, which -- in many cases -- is more than enough distance when playing.
Thanks to the built-in precise six-axis gyroscopic sensors, we could flawlessly execute every turn, jump, and glide. As a result, we did not lose any games due to lag or command stuttering.
One game that tests timing was Temple Run. If you've played before, you know this game is all about making quick decisions while dodging multiple obstacles.
While the game starts slow, it gets progressively faster as it goes on. As it did, the Switch Controller kept up when making snap-judgment moves in a short period.
While the Switch Controller worked reliably when playing various games, there was some trouble getting it to work with other games that supported controller usage.
When playing on a 2022 Apple TV 4K, the controller worked with every supported game. Yet, when playing on a 2022 MacBook Air, the controller would not work on the same games that indicated they supported a controller.
This may be an issue with the game itself rather than with the Switch Controller, but it still made it unusable. This resulted in us having to use another playing method or switch to another game.
Nenotoh Switch Controller review -- A great controller at a great price
The Nenotoh Switch Controller is a great addition to your gaming setup -- especially if you're subscribed to Apple Arcade. Additionally, its price being less than $30 makes its performance even more impressive.
Nenotoh Switch Controller review: Nenotoh Switch Controller design
From initial thoughts, you may think a lower-end budget controller won't be good -- or, if anything, half-decent. However, when using it with fast-paced gaming, the Switch Controller turns the tables on that notion by bringing reliable connectivity and low latency.
The controller felt comfortable in our hands when playing with its lightweight and non-slip design. We were able to grip onto the controller without the worry of it slipping and hurting stability within the game.
Furthermore, because of its ergonomic build, all the controls were easy to reach, and we didn't have to break a finger trying to press a button.
One downside is that while you'll get ten hours of usage, it takes nearly four hours to charge fully. That's too long for a controller with a 550mAh battery and no screen.
Moreover, the Switch Controller's default settings cannot be customized within macOS settings, which may be limiting for Mac gamers.
If you like to game occasionally and want a good controller for a fair price, then the Nenotoh Switch Controller is worth checking out. However, if you are a hardcore gamer playing intense games, you may want to look at a higher-end controller for your gaming setup.
Nenotoh Switch Controller review -- Pros
- USB-C charging
- Fast connectivity
- Responsive actions
- Good price
Nenotoh Switch Controller review -- Cons
- Long charging time
- No way to tell what percentage the battery is at on the controller
- Not customizable on macOS
- Only available in one color